Monday, September 24, 2012

Army MARS Restructures, Decentralizes, Leadership

Army MARS Chief Stephen Klinefelter, AAA9A, speaks at
a meeting of the MARS Government Executive Board.
(Photo courtesy Army MARS)
The Chief of Army MARS - the Military Auxiliary Radio System - has put day-to-day management of the organization into the hands of the 11 volunteer Region Directors who make up the MARS Government Executive Board. “You will tell us if you can take on a task and you will tell us the resources you need,” Chief Stephen Klinefelter told the directors, according to a news release. “Our responsibility at HQ will be to provide the training and the resources and to support you.”

Klinefelter also announced that this fall, the Army MARS headquarters staff will be adding a full-time civilian Program Officer with amateur radio as well as upper-level Army experience. The new Program Officer will report to Klinefelter, but he told the directors, "You're in charge … You're responsible."

IARU Region 3 President VK3KI, SK

(Courtesy Wireless Institute
of Australia)

The ARRL reports that Michael Owen, VK3KI, President of the Wireless Institute of Australia and Chairman of Region III of the International Amateur Radio Union, became a Silent Key on September 22 at age 75. He was also IARU Vice President from 1989 to 1999. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Ham Among Americans Killed in Libyan Consulate Attack

Sean Smith, KG4WSS (SK)
(Courtesy ARRL)
Sean Smith, KG4WSS, was one of the four Americans - including Ambassador Chris Stevens - killed September 11 in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. According to the ARRL Letter, Smith had worked for the State Department for the past ten years, following a six-year enlistment in the U.S. Air Force. He was on temporary assignment in Libya at the time of the attack.

Co-Founder of Mirage, RF Concepts, a Silent Key

Everett Gracey, WA6CBA, who co-founded both Mirage Communications (now a part of MFJ) and RF Concepts, passed away in late August at age 90. His wife of 71 years, Dorothy, predeceased him by seven months, according to his daughter. A World War II veteran awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Gracey was also responsible for bringing Alinco products into the US ham marketplace and most recently was the dealer representative for LDG Electronics. He was also involved with AMSAT and the SAREX/ARISS amateur radio in space programs, and was the author of several books. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

W1BXY New Managing Editor of QST

(Courtesy ARRL)
Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, has been named Managing Editor of QST magazine, succeeding Joel Kleinman, N1BKE (SK). Schoenfeld had been the ARRL's Book Editor and has more than 20 years of experience in publishing, according to the ARRL Letter. Before joining the ARRL staff, she had worked in educational publishing and founded a poetry journal. The Letter reports that she is active on 6 and 10 meters.

Kosovo Achieves Full Sovereignty

The Republic of Kosovo
(Courtesy CIA World Factbook)

The Republic of Kosovo achieved full sovereignty in September at the conclusion of a five-year period of "supervised independence," during which an international steering group appointed by the United Nations oversaw it development of democratic institutions and laws.

"The ISG has now completed its duties, allowing Kosovo to continue with full sovereignty and the management of its own affairs as a member of the world community," wrote International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 President Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, adding, "Kosovo is now an independent country, which must be honored as such."

Timmerman's comments appeared to be directed toward the ARRL, which has refused to recognize Kosovo as an independent DXCC entity. CQ has recognized Kosovo as a separate entity for its award and contest programs since the country became independent in 2007. Timmerman also reports that an amateur radio working group is in the final stages of working with the country's telecommunications agency to develop regulations governing amateur radio in Kosovo.

US Foxhunters Bring Home 13 Medals

Americans won 13 medals at September's World Championships of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF), held in Serbia. In the past, the US team had won no more than two medals, none gold, according to ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, who is also moderator of the CQ World Wide Foxhunting Weekend.

The U.S. team of 13 competitors faced off against a field of more than 330 participants from 33 countries, winning four gold medals and three silvers in the process. This year's competition included three new events, the "World Cup" for individual competitors rather than teams, the ARDF Sprint and Foxoring, which combines foxhunting and orienteering. The next ARDF World Championships will be held in 2014 in Kazakhstan.

Cubesats Galore - But You Can Only Listen…

The AMSAT News Service reports that four amateur radio cubesats were among a dozen satellites launched together on September 13 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The four amateur-band cubesats each carry scientific experiments and are downlink-only "birds" which do not provide for two-way amateur communications.
(NASA Photo)

Five additional cubesats - all also downlink-only - were scheduled to be hand-launched from the International Space Station on September 27. In addition, the Japanese-built PROITERES satellite was launched September 9 from India. It was India's 100th successful satellite launch, according to It is also a downlink-only satellite, designed to demonstrate powered flight using a pulsed plasma thruster engine.

Land-Mobile Narrow-Banding Takes Effect Jan. 1

The FCC has notified manufacturers, distributors and users of Private Land Mobile radios operating in the high VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-470 MHz) bands that they must convert to narrowband transmissions as of January 1, 2013, according to Newsline. The change, which has been in the works for several years, will convert those bands from 25-kHz channels to 12.5-kHz channels, essentially doubling the number of available channels on those two bands.
Amateur radio is not directly affected by the change. However, many manufacturers build both land-mobile and amateur rigs on the same basic platforms, so it is likely that future generations of VHF/UHF ham gear will be built to comply with the new land mobile standard.

Quebec Exempts 2-Way Radio from Cellphone Law

Hams and other two-way radio users in Quebec no longer need to worry about being cited for violating the province's ban on mobile use of handheld cellphones by operating their radios. Newsline reports that the cellphone provisions of Quebec's 2008 Highway Safety Code had been interpreted differently in different communities. Amendments to the code which took effect in June specify that the restrictions apply only to handheld devices that include a telephone function and specifically exempts devices which do not allow both parties in a conversation to speak simultaneously (so it appears that even autopatch is permitted.).

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pop'Comm WRO Live Chat, Sunday, September 9

The monthly Pop'Comm-WRO Live Online Chat is Sunday, September 9, @ 8 p.m. Eastern (0000 UTC Monday). To take part, at chat time, click on the Cover It Live chat box. Please go to < >.

Hope to see you there.

TNX and 73,

Richard Fisher, KI6SN / KPC6PC
Editor, Pop'Comm and WRO

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bob Cox, K3EST, Retires as CQWW Contest Director

(Hicksville, NY - Sept. 4, 2012) -- Bob Cox, K3EST, has retired as Director of the CQ World Wide DX Contest and as CQ's Director of Contesting, it was announced today by CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA. Cox has been at the helm of the CQWW for 35 years, guiding the contest through massive changes in technology - both on and off the air - and CQWW's growth to become the world's most popular amateur radio contest.

Cox first took the reins of the CQWW in January, 1977, along with Larry Brockman,  WA6EPQ (now N6AR), who worked with Bob until March, 1994. In making his announcement to members of the CQ World Wide Contest Committee,  Bob said,  "35 years encompasses almost the entire history of modern contesting.  All the way from paper logs to today's need for instant answers. During that time a framework was created that made the CQWW the innovator of almost everything used in contesting today including log checking." He added, "With that in mind…I am tired and wish to move on with other interests. "

Ross said the association had been long and fruitful, telling Cox "it has been an honor to have worked with you for these many decades.  Your contributions to the art and sport of amateur radio contesting have been enormous. "

Cox's retirement is effective immediately. A successor has not yet been named.